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What you eat affects every aspect of your health. If you eat well, you have a healthier heart, body and mind. Your diet is like the foundation of all the things you can do to protect your brain health. 

There’s no magic diet plan that prevents dementia, but good nutrition helps prevent conditions like: 

  • high blood pressure 
  • high cholesterol 
  • type 2 diabetes 
  • obesity 
  • heart disease. 

All of which are linked to a higher risk of developing dementia. 

What you can do 

Aim for variety 

Try to eat something from each of the five food groups whenever you can. These include: 

  • grains and cereals (preferably wholegrains) like bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, and polenta 
  • vegetables, legumes and beans, in a variety of colours 
  • fruit 
  • dairy products (preferably low-fat) or dairy alternatives like oat, almond or soy 
  • lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds. 

Monitor fat intake 

Not all fats are bad. Some fats, like those in olive oil, nuts, avocado and oily fish, contain essential nutrients. 

However, saturated and trans fats aren’t good for you and should be limited. Foods high in unhealthy fats include: 

  • butter and cream 
  • full-fat dairy products 
  • fatty and processed meats 
  • palm oil and coconut oil 
  • biscuits, cakes and pastries 
  • deep-fried foods. 

Watch your salt intake 

Use salt sparingly when cooking or eating to help control your blood pressure. Avoid salty foods, such as frozen meals, fast food and processed or packaged foods. 

Watch for hidden sugar 

Be careful of foods with added sugar, such as desserts, soft drinks and foods marketed as low-fat. Check the sugar content on the label. 

Drink water 

Increase your daily water intake by carrying a water bottle with you or pouring a glass of water with each meal. 

Weight and dementia 

There’s no direct link between weight and dementia. However, obesity increases your risk of developing health conditions that are linked to a higher risk of developing dementia. 

If you want to keep your weight in a healthy range: 

  • eat a well-balanced diet 
  • limit your alcohol consumption 
  • get regular exercise 
  • talk to your GP about your other options. 
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Last updated
15 December 2023